Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Much of the hardship of early and continued sobriety can be attributed to a condition called Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is triggered by the physical adjustments your brain has to make to account for the drugs in your system when you’re abusing. The physical and mental ramifications of prolonged substance abuse are usually difficult (if not impossible) to reverse. The window of time it takes the brain to function adequately without the drugs on which it’s come to depend during PAWS can be an excruciating period for the patient and is a leading cause of relapse in early recovery.

The most important thing to know about overcoming PAWS is that, while there are certainly things you can (and should) do to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms, such as undergo detoxification at a quality professional facility, the strength to overcome PAWS has to come from inside you. But even though your will and determination are the primary tools in recovery from PAWS, you don’t have to go through it alone. We at the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center will pair you with the best possible help.

Symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

It can take up to half a year for the most severe symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome to dissolve. It’s very important that you abstain from absolutely all drug and alcohol use during this period. Any use can completely derail the efforts you’ve made up to that point. Some of the main symptoms of PAWS include, but are not limited to:

  • Trouble thinking clearly or solving problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Extreme stress
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased pain sensitivity

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Management 

While certain medications and behavioral therapies will help to alleviate some of the discomfort associated with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, your best bet for clearing this hurdle that stands in the way of your lasting sobriety is a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle. It helps to think of PAWS as a temporary illness and a necessary evil, the symptoms of which can dissipate in a matter of months, although in more severe cases it can take up to two years.

There are numerous quality programs equipped to help patients manage their Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. They will reinforce your perspective, while doing everything in their power to make you as comfortable as possible. The NASAIC maintains a continuously updated national database of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome treatment centers in your local area, as well as the leading recommended PAWS treatment centers in the United States.

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.